Well, it’s back to the drawing board for me.
This term came about during WWII to describe the acceptance that a design has failed and a new one is needed. At this juncture in my life, I’m feeling like my original design has failed and a new one is most definitely needed.
A little over seven years ago, I had the pleasure of going through a divorce. How’s that for a little sarcasm? That’s right, the big D! Like most divorces that people experience, it crushed me. I went through all the stages of grief and man, it took me a good year to really build some momentum to get back to living life at 100%. And even then there were some relapses from time to time.
The most difficult part of the entire process was trying to figure out who I was without my wife. Who was I when I could no longer identify myself as a husband? To me, this was my most prized role in life. I’ll get back to this in a moment.
Somewhere along the way, I got really lucky and found myself in a sweet position where I was able to raise my two beautiful daughter’s 75% of the time. I would raise my girls during the school year and their mom would take the wheel during the breaks. I say lucky because it’s rare that a father ever has the opportunity to do the heavy lifting in situations like mine. I considered it a blessing and never looked back!
Now, I’d like to say that I took some time to really get to know myself during this period, but the truth is, I didn’t. I pretty much took all the love I had for my wife and poured it onto my kids. Naturally one would think this is a great thing, and in actuality it was, but now I find myself in a predicament once again.
I knew the day would come where my daughters, especially my eldest would want to live with their mom. I just always thought the reality of that was in the distance, so I didn’t worry too much. It was for a while, but now it’s here. Breathe, James.
Now I’ll be the first to tell you that this is a good thing. We’ve arrived here naturally. Nothing was forced. And I totally understand my daughters wanting to try and live with their mom at this time. They are growing into young women and would love the opportunity to do the everyday grind with mom and identify with her some more. Rightfully so.
I never had the opportunity to even have the choice to live with my father when I was growing up. He wasn’t around. I’m sure if I did, I would’ve capitalized on it. Nevertheless, my mom and the village she surrounded me with was all I needed. Thanks, mom.
I’m thrilled my daughters have the opportunity, as well as a wonderful mom who is willing and ready to do the heavy lifting. After all is said and done, I believe the girls will receive a well-balanced raising by two parents who simply adore them to pieces. And I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that is looking forward to being the fun parent for a while.
But like I said earlier, it’s back to the drawing board for me. For years now, I’ve completely immersed myself into the experience of being a father. Ask anyone who knows me well, what kind of father I am and they will tell you, “That boy good!” (Coming To America reference) Got to love Eddie Murphy.
Like being a husband once, being a father was my most prized role and still is. The problem is, I’ve totally identified myself under this role. Honestly, to the point where I’m unsure who I’ll be when I’m not wearing the “daddy hat” all the time.
Of course, I’ll still be daddy, but when your kids are such a huge part of your life and you may have over identified yourself with being a daddy, it can get a little tricky. Oh, the ego! So funny how we become attached to our thoughts and identify with the labels we give ourselves.
I have to laugh a little as someone who is always trying to inspire, as well as remind others that we’re so much more than the labels we put upon ourselves. Nice, James.
This will be a huge transition for all parties involved and I know all will be well in the universe again. I believe that’s one of the many purposes of the universe; to restore harmony, though we may not always understand the process.
I’m still quite a lucky guy. I get to walk along side my beautiful partner and help her raise her two daughters.
This time, however, I will not lose myself in the labels. This time I’ll do my best to find stillness throughout my days and remember who I am beyond thoughts, labels and form. Maybe during the early morning hours in meditation, or the gaps between the busy sounds of life.
So, my original design failed. Oh well. I think I’ve learned that sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Become less, so we can become more. I’m sure there are many tough days ahead of me, but I’ll be chipping away at the stone until I get to the golden nugget within. A human Tootsie Pop if you will. A new design is most definitely needed. So, my friends, back to the drawing board for me.